World Down Syndrome Day was marked with a story, dancing, and colorful, mismatched socks at Whitemarsh Elementary School on March 21.

Students in Stephanie Brennan’s Life Skills class and Susan Hope’s kindergarten class gathered together to listen to “Eli, Included” as read by parent Michelle Viall. 

Michelle’s son, James, who is a Whitemarsh kindergartener and has Down syndrome, joined her at the front of the class for the book reading. The book tells the story of a child with Down syndrome and some of the characteristics associated with the condition, which affects one in every 7,000 babies, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

After learning about Eli, the students answered some questions based on the book. One of the questions was how students can support their friends with Down Syndrome, and several responded that they would make efforts to include them. To end storytime, students danced and sang.

Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that can cause varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and medical issues. World Down Syndrome Day is recognized on the 21st day of the third month of the year because it is representative of the triplication of the 21st chromosome, which causes Down syndrome. Along with learning these facts, students and teachers marked the day by wearing mismatched socks. This has become a symbol of the day since chromosomes can resemble socks when magnified.

At Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, the Best Buddies Club promoted the sale of mismatched socks in advance of March 21 and raised over $250 for Sydney’s Soldiers, a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading global awareness for Down syndrome. 

Faculty, staff, and students at Plymouth Elementary School also participated in the day by showing off their funny footwear. 

WE class posing with socks
Students raising hands
Two people wearing mismatched socks
Group of students wearing crazy socks
Two feet with crazy socks
Two people wearing crazy socks
Feet with crazy socks
Four people wearing crazy socks
Two people wearing crazy socks
Legs with crazy socks